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Metameets 2009: Kevin Feenan on the Future of Education

Phelan Corrimal/Kevin Feenan of Rockcliffe is talking about the future of education. Rockcliffe is a pure virtual university and a non-profit in California. What he is talking about is an opinion and not based on scientific research.

Scientific Revolutions

Paradigms are defined by problem sets and not solution sets. They are a shared sense of the community and a shared sense of linguistic capital. They are re-envisioning how we objectify the world.
With e.g. Facebook et al. we get this new sense of community, we get friends easier and we connect faster with people. You can also pick you community what you couldn’t do before. Your location defined your community.

Key paradigm shifts

  • All reality is virtual
  • Dialogues are limited only by the networks they employ
  • Practices are limited only by what we perceive to be reality
  • Modernity is a rerequisite for learning in a virtual environment. It’s the whole aspect of create and experiment.
  • Learning can be centered in either the actor (people sitting in the chair) or the agent (the avatar). While we teach the agent we sort of have to go beyond that.
  • Both the actor and the agent must be engaged for individuals to develop knowledge

Virtual Worlds allows us to transfer knowledge far more easier than just using Web2.0 technologies because there is a social and practical aspect to what we are doing.
Even by showing PPTs on a screen we still have a sense of community because of the live experience and where we are.

Agent/Actor Paradox

I am my avatar and my avatar is me.
However I am not bound by any agreements
made by my avatar on my behalf

  • Fracturing of the concept of self
  • Internal (Actor) / External (agent) personas
  • Perception of self is contextual based on the setting/the environment/the time.

You cannot really recreate it, a good example is Woodstock which can’t be recreated.

Implications for education

  • Migration away from typical forms of education. Virtual Worlds and social networks will change the relationships not only between studenty but also between students and the institutions.
  • Increased student accountability
  • Narrower subjects – Tighter delivery. More just-in-time delivery, not long running classes.
  • Open Courseware will become standard
  • Increased price sensitivity. There might be more competition because you might take courseware from A but make your certfification at B where it might be cheaper.
  • Greater acceptability of learning deltas. Good enough is getting acceptable. Because what we are looking for is just-in-time. What do I need to know to solve the task at hand? and if this works why do you need to be 100% on this if 80% is sufficient?
  • Educational class structure
  • Reinvention of „university“

Problem might be that if there is no profit in certification there will be no money to create new courseware. Sort of a catch-22.  He was also mentioning eventually giving a course via twitter :-)

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